James Lafitte & The Mustang Island Pirates

A big part of Port Aransas history features the Mustang Island pirates like James Lafitte and present-day reminders commemorating their pillaging times. 

Lafitte’s Hideout (case and point) holds a reputation of delivering unforgettable RV camp sites on Mustang Island. Some say the reason behind this great level of service originates all the way back to the island’s swashbuckling roots inspired by one of the most notorious pirates to ever walk the plank. 

James Lafitte, aka Jean Lafitte, was a real-life pirate who exploited the Gulf of Mexico during the early 1800s. He was a savvy businessman and a skilled military leader, and he amassed a large fortune through his exploits. Lafitte even used Mustang Island as a hideout, and there are still tall tales of his legend today. 

James (Jean) Lafitte headshot
Jean Laffite credit Britannica

Early Life and Career

Lafitte was born in France in 1780. He moved to New Orleans in the early 1800s, and he quickly became involved in smuggling and piracy with his brother Pierre. Lafitte was a skilled captain, and he soon amassed a large fleet of ships across the Gulf. He also built a strong network of informants, which gave him valuable intelligence about his enemies. 

Mustang Island

Lafitte played a pivotal role in establishing the history of Mustang Island as his hideout in the early 1800s. The island was a strategic location, as it was both near the mouth of the Mississippi River and the hub of Galveston where he was dispatched to as a Spanish spy. Lafitte also knew that the island was sparsely populated, which made it a perfect place to hide his fleet of ships. 

LaFitte's Buried Treasure

There are many legends and stories about Lafitte on Mustang Island. Some say that he buried his treasure on the island, and there have been many attempts to find it. Others swear Lafitte’s ghost haunts the island, and there have been reports of strange lights and sounds around!


Lafitte and other Mustang Island pirates were complex and controversial figures. He was a pirate, but to some was also a patriot who fought for the independence of the United States. His death and burial at sea signified his mysterious life that blurs truth from fantasy, but established his fascinating legacy.

lafitte's hideout mustang island texas
LaFitte's Hideout RV Resort in Port Aransas, TX

Visit Mustang Island:

If you’re interested in learning more about James Lafitte, you should visit Mustang Island. There are both historical sites and evidence on the island that highlight Lafitte and his pirating in the Gulf of Mexico. 

In addition to Lafitte’s Hideout, USA Camping Company owns ‘On The Beach RV Park’ that is also located on the island. 

So, if others have the same idea as you of trying to go hunt for Lafitte’s treasure at Hideout and beat you to reserving a camping spot, feel free to reach out to ‘OTB’ to ensure a memorable camping getaway on the Port Aransas coast! 

More On Lafitte

There are also many books and articles about LaFitte that you can read. This will give you a deeper understanding of his life and legacy.



James (Jean) Lafitte headshot

James Lafitte & The Mustang Island Pirates

Lafitte’s Hideout has long held the reputation of delivering unforgettable RV camp sites on Mustang Island–largely from how contagious the modern-day energy in the area is. Some say the reason behind this originates all the way back to the island’s swashbuckling roots inspired by one of the most notorious pirates to ever walk the plank.

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